New Islamabad International Airport to inaugurate
01 May, 2018
RAWALPINDI: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi will officially inaugurate the new Islamabad International Airport (IIA) today (Tuesday). However, the flight operations at the airport will commence on Thursday (May 3). The much-awaited opening will move all commercial and VIP flights from Benazir Bhutto International Airport (BBIA) to the new airport located about 35 kilometres in the west of the capital city.
Explore in pictures: Shiny new Islamabad International Airport gets final touches ahead of inauguration
The opening of the airport was earlier set to be held on April 20 but it was delayed to May 3 due to some technical problems and security issues.
The objective to inaugurate the airport by the prime minister two days before it starts operations was to avoid public gathering during the inauguration.
International carriers, including Emirates Airlines, Qatar Airways, Thai Airways, China Airlines, Oman Air, Etihad Airways, Saudi Airways, Gulf Air, Kuwait Airways and Turkish Airlines, operate flights to and from Islamabad along with PIA, Shaheen Air and Air Blue.
On Tuesday, the national flag carrier’s commercial flight PK-300 will take off from Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport and touch down at the IIA at about 11am. Later, PK-301 will depart from the new airport for Karachi at 12:30pm.
PIA spokesman Mashood Tajwar told Dawn that PK-300 would be the only commercial flight that would land at the new airport on the eve of its inauguration. However, full flight operations will be shifted to the new airport on May 3.
He said the first commercial flight of PK-301 would take off from the new airport for Karachi.
He said the passengers of the first flight would be welcomed by PIA President and Chief Executive Officer Musharraf Rasool Cyan. All arrangements have been finalised for the smooth transition of flights to the new airport.
PIA’s passenger handling service team and other operational staff have been deputed at the new airport to facilitate the passengers on May 1.
On Monday, a contingent of the Airport Security Force (ASF) carried out a rehearsal to present guard of honor to the chief guest on the eve of the inaugural ceremony.
ASF Director General Major General Ali Abbas Haider visited the new airport and inspected the security arrangements and issued directives to further strengthen them.
On the other hand, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) directed its staff to properly lock their offices at the BBIA on May 2 and hand over the keys to the vigilance section. The vigilance section will maintain the record of the receipt of keys from the concerned sectional heads.
A statement by the PAF said following the tradition of assisting national organisations and the instructions of its senior leadership, PAF had lent a hand to the CAA for smooth and safe conduct of operations at the new airport.
A C-130 flight with passengers and luggage on board landed at the newly-constructed runway on Friday to assess its instrument landing pattern and the quality of the landing strip.
Earlier, PAF aircraft, including the lightweight super Mushshak trainer and Hercules transport aircraft, had also landed at the runway.
For air traffic deconfliction, PAF in consultation with the CAA air traffic controllers has readjusted its flying training areas and routes for smooth approach paths of the new airport.
Moreover, PAF has also established an air traffic control squadron manned by qualified controllers to ensure the smooth air traffic flow at the airport.
Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal visited the new airport on Monday. He said the new airport was a sick project in 2013 which was inherited from the previous government.